Whether you buy them at the grocery store, pick them up at the farmers market, or grow them at home, herbs are amazing superfoods to have around the house. I mean, is there anything better than homegrown basil on tomatoes, or fresh cilantro in your homemade guacamole? We don’t think so.
The only problem is that a little goes a long way, and fresh herbs usually come in bunches. This can lead to excess and food waste, which we can all agree is something we want to avoid.
Don’t cry over wilted dill. There are a ton of creative ways to use the extra fresh herbs to punch up your palate. Here are five ideas to get you started:
1. Whip up some herb-infused olive oil
Instead of paying an arm and leg for gourmet olive oil infused with rosemary, thyme, or oregano, make your own at home. It’s easy: Just wash the herbs thoroughly and gently bruise them before you add them to a small mason jar or another air-tight container. Next, fill the rest of the jar with olive oil and let it sit for a week or two in a cool, dry, dark place. The longer you let the herbs infuse, the stronger the flavor will be. Once the infusion reaches your desired strength (you can do a quick taste test every few days), strain out the solid herbs and return the olive oil to the mason jar to enjoy infused olive oil anytime you want. We recommend drizzling it over roasted vegetables for an extra punch of flavor.
2. Make your own flavored water
Drinking eight, 8-ounce cups of plain water every day can feel like a chore. The good news is, you can take some extra basil or mint and consider your bland, flavorless water problem solved. Just add fresh, washed herbs to a pitcher of water for a zero-sugar solution. You can also create interesting flavor combinations by adding fruits and vegetables, like honeydew or cucumber. Go ahead and give it a try, you won’t be disappointed.
3. Add herbs to your morning smoothie
Most of us are used to adding greens like spinach and kale to our breakfast smoothies, but we often forget herbs are full of antioxidants and phytonutrients, not to mention flavor. They’re the perfect addition to any smoothie. Try a frozen pineapple and cilantro smoothie, or combine fresh mint and cacao for a mint chocolate chip-like smoothie.
4. Make fresh herbal tea
When we think of tea, it’s all too easy to limit our options to black and green. The truth is, fresh herbal tea is as delicious, way more sustainable, and has zero caffeine. All you have to do is add fresh mint or ginger to hot water, let it steep for at least five minutes, and then strain. Homemade herbal tea is the perfect beverage to help with digestion after dinner or to fend off late-night sugar cravings.
5. Freeze them into iced cubes
If you’ve got extra fresh herbs, try freezing them into ice cubes. You can use the cubes to add flavor to water, iced tea, or cold-pressed juice. You can also use them in cocktails for a fun twist. If you need some inspo, try cilantro ice cubes in margaritas on your next Taco Tuesday, or add mint ice cubes to any mojito recipe.
There are a ton of ways to reduce food waste and protect the environment, but getting creative with the extra fresh produce you have around the house is a great place to start. Try one, a few, or all of these tips and enjoy having flavorful water, nutrient-packed morning smoothies, and the best margaritas you’ve ever made.
Show us your favorite off-beat herb recipes on Instagram!